Detroit Tigers Free Agent Review: Left-hander Andrew Chafin
The Detroit Tigers may add another leverage arm to their bullpen. Today, we take a look at Andrew Chafin.
When looking at the Detroit Tigers 40-man roster last night in doing a write up on Matt Strahm, it never occurred to me to look back at the 2017 Houston Astros roster. Manager A.J. Hinch used just one left-hander in Tony Sipp out of the bullpen that season.
The reason I went back and looked was to think of the best pitchers either left or right-handed that could help the bullpen. There are several options out there that we like here as a collective, but one name that Gavin wrote about back in December that piqued my interest was Andrew Chafin.
Who is Andrew Chafin?
An Ohio native, Andrew Chafin had a strong career as both a reliever and a starter at Kent State University, and the Arizona Diamondbacks made him the 43rd overall pick in the 2011 draft — one pick before the Mets took Michael Fulmer, and two picks before the Rockies took Trevor Story.
Chafin worked almost exclusively as a reliever as he made his way through Arizona’s system, though his numbers in that role were inconsistent, partially due to his pitching environments.
He posted a 4.87 ERA over 150+ innings in High-A Visalia across 2012 and 2013, but then registered a 2.58 ERA in 180+ Double-A innings for Mobile in 2013 and 2014.
His ERA ballooned up to 5.34 when Chafin was promoted to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League in 2014, and he also made his MLB debut that season, starting three games down the stretch for the D-backs and manager Kirk Gibson. His debut was the best of the bunch, as he tossed five scoreless frames against Cleveland:
But Chafin has worked exclusively as a reliever ever since. His first full season in the majors was very good, as Chafin pitched to a 5-1 record and a 2.76 ERA in 75 innings over 66 games. The fickle nature of baseball luck bit Chafin in 2016, as his FIP actually dropped from 3.35 to 2.84, but his ERA exploded to 6.75.
No one in baseball pitched in more games than Andrew Chafin from 2017 to 2019. He appeared in 225 games and posted a solid 3.46 ERA over 153.1 innings, with a strong 10.68 K/9 and 19 pickoffs. He was also credited with a playoff victory despite recording only one out.
2021 by the numbers:
What numbers that stand out is how he could get both left-handers and right-handers out. Lefties hit .170 against him in 104 plate appearances and righties hit .196 in 162 plate appearances with 43 strikeouts. Power wise, lefties hit just one home run off him. His slider generated an impressive 54% Whiff rate and batters hit just .092. When you can make knees bend, you know your slider is money.
Think about this situation if you are facing the Detroit Tigers. You might have to face a Chafin slider or a Gregory Soto slider in a key situation. Signing Chafin fits into what Hinch wants, a high-quality reliever who can get the job done.